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‘Doctor Who’ Showrunner Chibnall, Star Whittaker Departing

Doctor Who
(Image credit: BBC America)

Chris Chibnall, showrunner on Doctor Who, and Jodie Whittaker, who plays the Doctor, are departing the BBC series. Six episodes will run in the fall and three specials will air in 2022, the last one feature-length. Chibnall and Whittaker leave after that. 

Doctor Who runs on BBC America. 

Chibnall became showrunner in 2017. Whittaker is the thirteenth Doctor, and the first female one. She started on the show in 2017. 

“Over the last four years Chris and Jodie have made Doctor Who history and their time on the show is indelibly marked on our memories,” said Piers Wenger, BBC Drama director. “From Rosa Parks to Ascension of the Cybermen, Chris and Jodie have given Doctor Who some of its most life-affirming and tear-jerking moments to date and we are beyond excited to see what they have in store for us in the new series this autumn. Jodie's final adventure to mark the BBC's Centenary in 2022 is set to be a Doctor Who Special to remember. I’d like to thank them both for their incredible work on the show.”

Doctor Who premiered in 1963 and had 26 seasons, then rebooted in 2005, with season 13 coming up. 

After the fall season, the first special will air on New Year’s Day in 2022, and the second in the spring. The final one, which will see the Doctor regenerate, will air in fall 2022. 

“Jodie and I made a ‘three series and out’ pact with each other at the start of this once-in-a-lifetime blast,” said Chibnall. “So now our shift is done, and we’re handing back the TARDIS keys.”

He added about Whittaker, “Jodie’s magnificent, iconic Doctor has exceeded all our high expectations. She’s been the gold standard leading actor, shouldering the responsibility of being the first female Doctor with style, strength, warmth, generosity and humour. She captured the public imagination and continues to inspire adoration around the world, as well as from everyone on the production.   I can’t imagine working with a more inspiring Doctor – so I’m not going to!”

Doctor Who is a BBC Studios production for BBC One and a BBC America co-production. 

“In 2017 I opened my glorious gift box of size 13 shoes. I could not have guessed the brilliant adventures, worlds and wonders I was to see in them,” said Whittaker. “My heart is so full of love for this show, for the team who make it, for the fans who watch it and for what it has brought to my life. And I cannot thank Chris enough for entrusting me with his incredible stories. We knew that we wanted to ride this wave side by side and pass on the baton together. So here we are, weeks away from wrapping on the best job I have ever had. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express what this role has given me. I will carry the Doctor and the lessons I’ve learnt forever.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.